“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Before I was born, my mom was given an option to end my life.

It was not an easy choice for her – keeping me meant I would be her only child, and I was a girl. It was 26 years ago in China, and everyone told her to give up on me and wait for a boy.

But she heard another voice inside herself. “It was you,” she told me many years later, “telling me you are ready for this world.”

I have lived all my life with the deepest gratitude, simply for my existence in the world. I breathe, I run, I see the beauty of the world because my mom gave me a chance to live – before she ever met me. My life is enabled by her courage to embrace me in her life as her only child, even if it was an unconventional choice that disappointed her family.

I want to carry on her courage in my life. I want to see people with my own eyes and make choices with my own heart. When life pushes me to make tough decisions, I want to have the courage to say no to the dominant voice around me and make the choice I will not regret. Because every morning when I wake up and see the sunshine, I know I am alive because of my mom’s belief and I must pass it on.

Every life deserves a chance to shine.

— Feiran Wang